I did not know that this was a sequel till I had finished the book, but it did not detract from this particular story. The eternal quest of how do women juggle mother hood and a career and most importantly in this case get back to a career after a seven year gap! Especially when one is 49!
Tackling going back to work as a necessity (a husband who is finding himself for over two years), an enormous house which needs repairs, two teenage children full of needs and demands Kate finds herself at a crossroad. I think any mother could empathize with her at some stage of this book with the various stages Kate is forced to go through. Teenage angst, sheer laziness on the part of all who have been pandered to by said mother, indifference on the part of a husband who has learnt that to be helpless and pathetic has worked to his advantage in the past and Kate who now finds herself in the field of high finance, albeit as a junior has to juggle several balls in a field of all young, selfish workmates who look on her as an old fossil.
When Kate is able to land a lucrative contract, the envy and jealousies start and her mates now hope that she will fall flat on her face with subsequent sales pitches. Kate needs the job and now has to work doubly hard balancing her two lives especially since she now finds that her eldest child is in a world of her own and has excluded her mother from what is happening. Added to this an in law with dementia (who is ignored by her own son), her own elderly mother and Christmas around the corner adds to Kate's burden.
The only bright spark on the horizon is the return of Jack - someone whom Kate loved in days gone by and who now appears on the scene.
So many elements in this story appealed. Women breaking through the glass ceiling (this was a high class hedge fund we are talking about), the attitudes that still exist that women have to look good all the time never mind that middle age spread is inevitable and menopause adds to their misery. That women still consider this so very important (Kate went in for lunch hour lipo!!) and death inducing misery with shaper undergarments!!!!, green eyed jealousy and undercutting that was rife in the office because Kate was not willing to fall in with lecherous offers are all very much out there and still exist.. Adding to that, was the actual physical work involved in running a home where it was understood that children and household work was still part of her responsibilities. I know this has changed considerably but it was not so in this book. Richard was a husband that another woman would have cheerfully strangled.
I loved the story but only wished that Kate would have had a little more gumption to handle her husband and teenage children before the eventual collapse. She certainly knew how to handle her work colleagues well.. I was glad that Kate's story ended very happily too! Richard got his just desserts!
Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.